Friday, October 16, 2009

Nettles again

 [Update, Sunday 24 October 2010: Lus at Wild*crafty has written a brilliantly informative blogpost about New Zealand nettles. A must-read.)

I wrote briefly about nettle last year (after my great excitement at finding a single plant in our local neighbourhood). I had been inspired to forage for nettles by a woman I met online through Transition Towns and also the Wild Foragers email list - Maryanne.

It was a great pleasure on this month's foraging show on This Way Up, to actually go and meet Maryanne, and we had a fantastic morning sampling lots of her amazing nettle recipes. Simon Morton took these pics at the This Way Up page.

I really enjoyed meeting Maryanne and talking with her, and after Simon had to dash away to record his next bit of the show, I stayed for a bit. Maryanne showed me some nettle fibre, dried, spun, and woven into a bag. I'm not sure what variety of nettle is best for this, but apparently it's the stalks that are used, giving a rough, strong fibre.

Who knows which bits of our long and fascinating conversation with Maryanne will appear in the show today, and which will need to be edited out to fit into the 10 minute time slot ... but after I listen I'll blog any extra details that I remember!

7 comments:

Nikki said...

You should have seen my excitement when Lynda pointed out a patch of nettle to me on a farm visit we were on - I managed to extract us a couple of pieces with roots. So my garden now has it's own potential patch growing (hopefully I don't curse it's presense one day!). yes, I've read of those who pick them with bare hands too.

Anonymous said...

I put older nettle in the compost bin - nutritional benefits to your compost. New nettle leaves choped fine are a great feed for young chicks and aid in the prevention of coccidiosis. I use it in soups, stews, and salads. Even love the 'bite' of the sting!!!

Ruth said...

Must come here more often... so many good things to try out in my garden I now see... And I have so many wild hybrids I'm sure... would so love you to come and tell me all about these things in my garden!
Damn I missed the harvest of onion weed this year! We get TONNES of the stuff, now I know what to do with it next year.

Debrina said...

This is a great blog! Keep the postings up please! I love kawakawa and I heard the most amazing National Radio interview this morning about its burgeoning culinary use ( I wonder if it was you?).

Johanna Knox said...

Hi Debrina - lovely to find your blogs through your comment!

Yeah, that was me on radio about kawakawa.

I have been a very slack blogger of late - moving house and other disruptive things. Hope to get back to it soon ...

Passion 4 Raw said...

HI Joanna, great blog but I have to say the photo you posted of nettle is not Urtica dioica but Urtica urens the annual nettle. Dioica is a perennial and forms a clump. It is not generally found wild in NZ but if planted will spread. Urens on the other hand comes up itself in the garden. I use both species in smoothies and make soups, and infusions for a dark mineral rich nourishing drink. It is great to soak in water for several weeks and then dilute as a plant food too. juliasedibleweeds.com

Johanna Knox said...

Thanks a lot for the correction Julia - have made a catch-all change! :)